A new magnetic system could precisely control the movement of levitating objects for many manufacturing applications
Magnetic levitation (Maglev) is well known for its use in high-speed rail networks, but could also be applied at smaller scales in medicine and electronics. To do so, researchers must be able to precisely control electromagnetic fields so that they can move and rotate objects without touching them.
Now, Teo Tat Joo and co-workers at the A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) and National University of Singapore have developed a Maglev system that can produce linear and rotational motion in all three dimensions. This system provides nanometer-scale precision in these movements, and is simpler and potentially less energy-intensive than other recent attempts.
“Today’s existing precision mechatronics systems can only be classified as having one micrometer positioning accuracy over one meter — one part-per-million or 1 PPM,” says Teo. “On the other hand, Maglev technology has the potential to achieve a truly nanometer positioning system — 0.001 PPM.”
To build their new Maglev system, Teo and co-workers employed a special arrangement of permanent magnets called a Halbach array, which produces a strong magnetic field on one side but not the other. They positioned four Halbach arrays on a square platform above several energized coils of wire (see image), and used analytical force modeling to work out how the magnets and coils would interact. Then, by carefully controlling the electrical current in different coils, they were able to move or rotate the square platform at several different speeds (see video), with a positional error of just 50 nanometers.
“One of the main technical challenges we faced was that the large number of coils, with high electrical resistance, require a high power supply,” says Teo. “We are currently developing a scheme that allows selective switching of the coils; this will improve the energy efficiency and significantly reduce the cost of the Maglev system.”
Perhaps the most promising uses of the Maglev system developed by the A*STAR team would be in processes that require a particle-free or vacuum environment, as Teo explains: “The contactless nature of Maglev ensures that no contaminating particles are generated from friction between surfaces. For example, future wafer lithography processes such as extreme UV lithography, which operates in a vacuum, will require a Maglev system to handle the wafer.”
Teo also suggests that Maglev technology could replace conventional conveyor belts in factories. Unlike traditional conveyors that can only move objects on pre-defined tracks, Maglev could move several objects simultaneously to different desired locations.
Learn more: Floating fields for fine fabrication
The Latest on: Magnetic levitation
- Horrigan: Getting rich on that crackpot airport privatization deal on September 15, 2018 at 9:30 am
When you get into your retirement years, you appreciate sure-fire investments. I was going with the Missouri Hyperloop, the 600-mile-an-hour magnetic levitation tube between here and Kansas City, but ... […]
- Rescue Oahu’s Rail Project With Magnetic Levitation Technology on September 14, 2018 at 3:14 am
Reject the mantra from the city and HART that it’s too late to change from steel wheels on steel rails. By Frank Genadio / About 10 mins ago Act 1 of 2017 increased estimated rail project collections ... […]
- Hyperloop: The revolutionary technology that could change transport forever on September 14, 2018 at 12:12 am
So what exactly is hyperloop? It's a form of transportation that Virgin Hyperloop One says uses magnetic levitation to float vehicles above a track. Electric propulsion accelerates the vehicle through ... […]
- Who Will Regulate Hyperloop? on September 13, 2018 at 3:33 pm
A hyperloop is a low-pressure, high-speed surface transportation system in which electromagnetic propulsion moves a vehicle suspended using magnetic levitation through a tube that eliminates aerodynam... […]
- You better believe Roosevelt would have built SCMaglev on September 12, 2018 at 2:51 pm
Had something such as the superconducting magnetic-levitation train — SCMaglev, for short — been available, I cannot imagine Roosevelt (or any New Dealer) endorsing a “no-build” option. The New Dealer... […]
via Google News and Bing News